Guest Writer: Emily Cunningham
Recently, AU’s mechanical engineering program received accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering.
ABET accreditations show that engineering programs have met all of the necessary standards to produce graduates who are ready to enter the field of STEM education.
They are the global accrediting body for college-level programs in applied science, natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. The process is entirely peer-review based and utilizes volunteers.
Dr. Kyle Tarplee, director of engineering programs and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, explained that “ABET accreditation is very important for engineering programs.”
As of now, the electrical and computer engineering programs at AU have not received accreditation, and each of the engineering departments must apply for accreditation separately.
“We are in the process of pursuing accreditation from ABET for those programs,” Tarplee said.
Receiving ABET accreditation is a major benefit for the department and its students. Graduates of the program will benefit from their coursework having been accredited, allowing them to get their foot in the door for jobs straight out of college.
Earning accreditation is an 18-month long process that requires a lot of paperwork and strict deadlines. There is a three day on-site visit with professionals,who spend their time carefully assessing and looking over all that the department has accomplished and how they went about doing so.
Once the on-site visit has been completed, applicants do not know if their programs have been approved for another several months.
For the mechanical engineering program, the wait is over.
Students seeking a major in mechanical engineering take 83 hours of coursework within the program. Courses include math, science and engineering.
Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering and involves designing and manufacturing machinery.
Mechanical engineers must be able to apply the principles of motion, energy and force to every design to ensure safety and functionality.
AU’s website says, “The mechanical engineering curriculum provides a broad background in the different areas of the discipline such as heat transfer, machine design, control systems and manufacturing finance.
“Additionally, students will have an opportunity to discover the various specialty areas of the major through different elective courses including fracture mechanics, machinery dynamics and applications to the aerospace industry.”